IDAHO FALLS — People across the state found themselves in jail for drunk driving between December 13 and January 2 after law enforcement agencies mobilized for a holiday “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” campaign.
“For the Idaho State Police…in the Idaho Falls area, it was very successful,” Idaho State Police Lieutenant Chris Weadick told KID Newsradio. “We ended up between December 13 and January 2, our agency alone ended up with about 11 DUI’s up here.”
That number more than doubled in the region’s neighboring ISP district in Pocatello where law enforcement arrested 25 people for driving under the influence. But, contrary to popular belief, Weadick says, these mobilizations are not about numbers so much as they are about encouraging voluntary compliance to laws.
“Here’s the other success that’s hard to measure,” Weadick said. “How many designated drivers occurred because of our public service announcements? How many taxis and how many tow services were used during that time because people knew we had a mobilization campaign taking place and they knew that a lot of the law enforcement was going to be out specifically looking for those violations? That is so hard for us to be able to measure, that sometimes if your numbers are a little bit low, that’s not necessarily a failure, that actually might be a success.”
Finding such success in an statewide effort involves partnering between agencies on local, county and state levels.
“The partnering is what really makes it effective,” Weadick said. “No one agency could do it on their own.”
Weadick says such partnerships begin at the state level with the Idaho Transportation Department which provides funds for agencies like the Idaho State Police and local police departments to organize such mobilizations where extra officers can enforce violations like DUI’s and aggressive driving while other officers respond to calls for service.
“We cannot do this by ourselves,” Weadick said. “No one agency can…we’re a piece of the pie…what I like to call it is the ‘blurring of the patches.’ Doesn’t matter what color uniform, doesn’t matter your training, your pay rate, your rank, we’re all out there doing the same thing and that is to intercept criminal activity and to promote the safest highways out there that we possibly can.”
Because at the end of the day, Weadick says, mobilizations are all about keeping people safe from some of the most deadly traffic violations.
“It’s called ‘Toward Zero Deaths,'” Weadick said. “Our goal is to try to get our fatal crashes down to zero or as close to zero, every single year.”
ISP’s next mobilization is scheduled for early March.